Evening News Update for Wednesday, 2/26/14.


David O. Russell Exits ABC Drama Project, Which Continues As Series, Casts 1st Actor
David O. Russell
has departed the ABC drama series he was to executive produce with Susannah Grant. Russell developed the project with Grant, CBS TV Studios and studio-based Timberman-Beverly for several months. It was quietly set up at ABC and a month ago, the network greenlighted it straight-to-series with a 13-episode order. That order remains in place following Russell’s exit, with the series, now titled The Club, locking in its first regular cast member, Callie Hernandez. Russell is expected to refocus fully on features. It is not unusual for big-name filmmakers to back out of a TV project, often pulled away by feature commitments.

Cristela Alonzo Latina Comedy From 20th Century Fox TV Gets ABC Order
, the semi-autobiographical multi-camera comedy co-created by and starring rising stand-up comedian Cristela Alonzo, remains in fall contention at ABC. The network, which originally bought the 20th TV-backed comedy in August with a sizable penalty, has greenlighted what it calls “proof of concept” for the project, which has fans among ABC top brass. On the breakdown for Cristela released today, it is listed as a pilot presentation with John Pasquin directing a cast of 10, led by Alonzo. The show, co-written by Alonzo and Kevin Hench, tells the story of Cristela (Alonzo), an American Latina straddling two cultures while not fully belonging to either.

VH1 Orders ’90s-Set Drama ‘Hindsight’ to Series
is continuing its push into scripted territory, ordering drama Hindsight to series. From Emily Fox, the 10-episode drama centers around Becca (Laura Ramsey) on the eve of her second wedding — in hindsight, she thinks about her life’s decisions and winds up going back to the morning of her first wedding in 1995. Hindsight was previously developed at NBC and will be executive produced by Fox, Timberman/Beverly’s Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly and Maggie Malina. VH1 head of development Susan Levison will exec produce alongside Jill Holmes. Michael Trimm directed the pilot.

Rick Eid Signs Overall Deal With Warner Bros TV, Joins ‘The Lottery’ As Showrunner
Drama writer-producer Rick Eid has closed an overall deal with Warner Bros. TV. Under the two-year pact, Eid will develop new projects for the studio. He also is boarding Warner Horizon’s newly picked up Lifetime drama series The Lottery as executive producer/showrunner. http://www.deadline.com/2014/02/rick-eid-signs-overall-deal-with-warner-bros-tv-joins-the-lottery-as-showrunner/

‘Being Mary Jane,’ starring Gabrielle Union, is renewed by BET

"Being Mary Jane," BET’s first original scripted drama, ended its freshman season with a victory: It’s been officially been renewed for a second season. More than 5.8 million viewers tuned in for Tuesday’s two-hour conclusion of the first season. The second hour drew 3.2 million viewers, almost equaling the January premiere, which attracted 3.3 million viewers.

Cinemax’s ‘Strike Back’ To Go On Hiatus After Sullivan Stapleton Off-Set Injury
first primetime drama series Strike Back had been filming its 10-episode fourth and final season in Bangkok, Thailand when one of its two stars, Sullivan Stapleton, suffered a serious injury while exploring the town in his free time. As a result, filming of the series will take a six-month break so he can recover.


‘Buffy’s’ Michelle Trachtenberg, ‘Go On’s’ Julie White to Co-Star in CBS’ ‘Save the Date’
"Family Tree’s" Tom Bennett has also booked a regular role on the comedy from Jeff and Jackie Filgo. Trachtenberg will play Hillary, Katie’s button-downed Rachel Maddow-type sister who gets engaged to her boyfriend, Roger (Bennett), right after Katie scares away her boyfriend with her overzealous attitude toward marriage.

Kenneth Choi Boards NBC Pilot ‘Coercion’
Kenneth Choi
(Ironside) has landed a regular role in the NBC drama pilot Coercion, from Universal Television and Keshet Media Group.

The CW’s Sci-Fi Drama ‘Messengers’ Adds ‘Skins,’ ‘Super 8’ Alums
Sofia Black-D’Elia
and Joel Courtney are the first ones cast in the drama from Eoghan O’Donnell.

Michael Rosenbaum Joins NBC Pilot ‘Mission Control’; Fred Willard In ‘Old Soul’
Michael Rosenbaum is set to co-star opposite Krysten Ritter in NBC pilot Mission Control, a Universal TV-produced comedy from studio-based Gary Sanchez Productions and executive producers Adam McKay and Will Ferrell. Comedy veteran Fred Willard is set to co-star opposite Natasha Lyonne and Rita Moreno in NBC‘s single-camera comedy pilot Old Soul.


Rainn Wilson, David Morse, Mike Vogel to Star in Elijah Wood’s Serial Killer Movie ‘The Boy’
Rainn Wilson
has signed on to co-star in its next production “The Boy.” Additionally, David Morse, Mike Vogel, Zuleikha Robinson and Bill Sage have joined the ensemble cast. Craig MacNeill is directing “The Boy” from a screenplay he co-wrote with Clay McLeod Chapman, who created the characters in his novel “Miss Corpus.” “The Boy” is the first film of a planned trilogy tracking the childhood of a future serial killer, with installments depicting the character at ages 9, 14 and 18, respectively, and ending with his full transformation to an iconic mass murderer.

Josh Gad, Kevin James in Talks to Join Adam Sandler in ‘Pixels’
The film, based on an internet short about 1980s video game characters, will be directed by Chris Columbus. Pixels was one of the Internet shorts that garnered Hollywood buzz in 2010 and depicted 1980s video game characters attacking New York City. Tim Herlihy and Tim Dowling worked on the script.

Jason Statham to Join Melissa McCarthy in Fox’s ‘Susan Cooper’
Jason Statham
is ready to team up with Melissa McCarthy as an unlikely spy duo in 20th Century Fox’s “Susan Cooper.” Story follows the adventures of an unlikely spy, Susan Cooper. Statham will play another spy McCarthy teams up with.

Jack Thorne To Script ‘Sandman’ For Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Jack Thorne
has been set to script Sandman at Warner Bros based on the pitch that David Goyer made for his treatment for the Neil Gaiman comic book classic. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is producing with Goyer and the hope is for him to star and possibly direct. The Sandman series shifts between horror and fantasy, and the central character is Morpheus, the personification of dreams. After being held captive 70 years, Morpheus escapes, gains revenge and rebuilds his crumbling kingdom while trying to adapt to the times.

Adam Driver to Play Villain in ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’
J.J. Abrams is directing the new installment.


(sched) NBC To Roll Out ‘America’s Got Talent’, ‘American Ninja Warrior’ After May Sweep
will bring out the next season of American Ninja Warrior on Monday, May 26, 8-10 PM, and America’s Got Talent the next night, Tuesday, May 27, 8-10 PM.

(ratings) ‘Game of Arms’ Premiere Draws One Million Viewers
AMC’s newest unscripted series, Game of Arms, debuted with 1 million viewers and 626,000 adults 18-49 – making it AMC’s highest weeknight unscripted series premiere ever.

Jay Leno Stops By ‘Arsenio Hall Show’ to Announce Season 2 Renewal
“The Arsenio Hall Show”
will fight on in the latenight wars, getting the official season two nod from distributor CBS TV Distribution on Wednesday. The renewal had been expected, though it wasn’t a slam dunk. Jay Leno stopped by the taping of Hall’s Wednesday episode to help the host announce his good news.

Entertainment Studios Renews ‘America’s Court With Judge Ross’ For Seasons 5 & 6
Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios
has greenlighted America’s Court With Judge Ross for Seasons 5 and 6 with clearance in 85% of U.S. television markets. http://www.deadline.com/2014/02/entertainment-studios-renews-americas-court-with-judge-ross-for-seasons-5-6/


Steven Moffat: "There are no shows from America that are big hits in Britain”

The man behind “Doctor Who” and “Sherlock” tells the BBC: ""We mostly watch shows made by our own country. There are no shows from America that are big hits in Britain. They’re all minor hits. Your mates may talk about them but no-one’s watching them. They’re getting squashed by the locally-made shows. Always.”



How movies and TV give life to the mundane text message
Cell phones and digital messages have managed to worm their way into the storytelling in movies and TV despite a supposed natural ineptitude at stirring up drama. A text message is dispassionate, free of emotion and all too open to interpretation, according to some literature on the importance of, say, tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language. But TV shows and movies have managed to integrate these dispassionate messages to logistical and, surprisingly, emotional effect, reflecting the significance that messaging has gained for us over the years.